Over the past few episodes, we’ve been talking a lot about Bordeaux and the Gironde, the estuary that feeds into the Atlantic and breaks up the region. As we move up the estuary, it splits off into two rivers: the Dordogne and the Garonne. Just north of the Garonne is the Right Bank.
While the Right Bank never followed the same land reclamation practices that took place in the Médoc, the landscape, which is filled with rolling hills and plateaus filled with limestone, gravel, and clay, makes it a very fertile ground for growing. Within this region, one can find the Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac appellations, and while there aren’t many châteaux, there’s no shortage of land under vine. But, due to the Right Bank’s lack of easy access to trade routes and waterways, much of the wine produced in the region didn’t leave the area for quite some time.
Fast-forward several hundred years to 1860 — a mere five years after the historic Bordeaux Classification — and the first railway was built between Libourne, Paris, and beyond, allowing Right Bank wines to enter the cultural epicenter of France. While most of the Médoc wines were being shipped straight to Great Britain, where all the money was, the Right Bank wines were being enjoyed by the French. It wasn’t until the 1900s when some PR and marketing, courtesy of Libourne’s Moueix family, gave Right Bank wines the steam they needed to make it into international markets outside Europe.
On this episode of “Wine 101,” Keith dives into the lengthy history of Bordeaux’s Right Bank and discusses how the region transformed into what it is today. Tune in for more.
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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.
*Image retrieved from Elena Dijour via stock.adobe.com